Amongst female chefs are some of today’s restaurant sector’s most groundbreaking talents. Their careers can inspire fellow-chefs and restaurant-owners with entrepreneurial, community-focused, and creative imprints. Here is our Choco list of female chefs to inspire your 2020 thanks to their work and success.
London-based Kenyan-born chef Ravinder Bhogal is the manager of Jikon (meaning “Kitchen” in Swahili), a hotspot for celebrating cooking contaminations. Her cooking style has Indian, South-Asian, Middle-Eastern, British, East-African, and Far-Eastern influences. Ravinder Bhogal was also included twice in the Evening Standard Progress 1000 list of London’s leading influencers of progress and diversity. Former journalist, passionate writer, and author of award-winner book Cook in Boots, Ravinder Bhogal stepped in the frontline to help public health workers during the 2020 lockdown for Covid-19. She partnered up with the NHS Wellness Box initiative, cooking and financially supporting the provision of free meals for the King’s College Hospital staff.
Asia’s Best Female Chef by 50 Best Restaurants 2020 Cho Hee-sook is known as the Godmother of Korean cuisine. Her delightful eight-course menu at Hansikgonggan restaurant in Seoul proposes royal court cuisine with a modern twist. Chef Hee-sook's cooking approach follows the tradition of Hansik (“Korean cuisine”) of maintaining original flavors of seasonal ingredients, yet it includes some novel foods.
Chiara Pavan was elected Cook of the Year in 2018 by the Guide de L’espresso and Best Italian Female Chef in Europe in 2019 at The Love Italian Life Awards. Her restaurant Venissa, on an island near Burano, Venice, offers a menu based on fresh produce from the restaurants’ nearby’ Venetian-lagoon’s gardens. Coming from a background in philosophy and cooking experiences in some of the most prestigious contemporary restaurants, she presents her ideal cuisine as essential, yet expressive of flavors and her surrounding landscape. She recently spoke out in different interviews about gender inequities, pointing out the need for more safeguarding measures for female workers in restaurants.
Chef Manu, owner of Restaurante Manu in the green city of Curitiba in Brazil is a dedicated food activist for healthy and local homemade cuisine. In 2020 she established a women-led network of cooks, journalists and food artisans called Mulheres do Bem and worked at a cooking initiative to serve 500 meals during the Covid-19 crisis. With the latest challenges of the restaurant industry, Buffara inspired positive change by promoting less wasteful, community-based, and sustainable patterns of serving and consuming food. Her mission does not stop with the end of the pandemic, as she said in an Instagram post: “I don’t want to consume as before. I want to live on less and in a different pattern. I want to buy more health, more knowledge. I will think about my next vacation in a different way, I want my closest friends, I want my family by my side. I want and I will make our work Mulheres do Bem keep growing more and more, I want to be better!” (@manubuffara, Sept 6. 2020).
Chef Gabriela Cámara is known for her Mexican cuisine and specialization in seafood ingredients at restaurants Contramar in Mexico City and Cala in San Francisco. Owner of several restaurant businesses in Mexico City and a member of the Mexican Council of Cultural Diplomacy, she recently was part of the online series Masterclass. As an advocate of smart, nutritious, and socially-responsible food, she teaches about different corn varieties that are present in Mexico, and how to obtain a perfect masa for tortillas. She is also a protagonist of the Netflix short documentary A Tale of Two Kitchens.